Ian Hamer was admitted to A&E when his right leg ballooned in size and he came down with a severe illness following the run-in with what is thought to have been a false widow.
He was eventually diagnosed with cellulitis – an infection caused by bacteria getting deep in the skin – and had to stay overnight at hospital while doctors rushed to diagnose the problem.
Had the bite got any worse, the 48-year-old contract manager of Birkenhead was told, he may have had to have part of the leg removed.
“He thought he had been nicked from a branch, but on Saturday evening he said he had a pain in his groin,” said wife Helen. “He also had a small blister appearing on his right lower leg.”
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, she explained that the father-of-three decided not to phone his GP until Monday morning but, even then, after being prescribed antibiotics, the blister only became more excruciating.
Helen, herself a nurse, said: “We have three teenagers and they were really worried and shocked by how the pain became rapidly worse.
“Their dad doesn’t normally doesn’t bat an eyelid, but they could see he was really struggling.”
After going to nearby Arrow Park Hospital, doctors eventually diagnosed the blister was a bite – probably from a false widow – and placed their patient on intravenous antibiotics.
He was kept in for two nights to ensure the wound did not turn septic.
Six species of false widow live in the UK and, while they do have a venomous bite, it is not an especially potent one. The pain usually lasts for no more than 12 hours and generally does not need antibiotics.